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Entries in Best Actor (175)

Thursday
May192016

Who or what is the MVP of "Sing Street"?

Sing Street, the latest film from our most musician obsessed auteur John Carney, has been expanding with more theaters each week at a fairly strong clip. Six weeks in, there's no expansion (a very crowded weekend) but its fanbase keeps growing exponentially as more people "discover" it. Like Carney's previous music-based indies, the Oscar winning, transcendently low-fi Once and the more mainstream but surprisingly rewatchable Begin Again, whatever you might want to say about Sing Street an adjective that could safely and accurately describe all three films is "endearing"...

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Monday
May092016

Two Must Reads: Asian Actors Speak Out, and Method Acting's History

After two hit TV shows Daniel Dae Kim is Broadway's new King of SiamTwo Must Reads today that are a pleasure to highlight

The Hollywood Reporter published a piece called "Where are the Asian-American Movie Stars?" that's definitely worth a look. Kudos to fine actors like Maggie Q, Daniel Wu, Daniel Dae Kim, Ming-Na Wen and others for forging and holding down careers (it can't have been easy) and speaking out about the white-washing. The problem is not just that Hollywood doesn't get it but that they also don't make use of what they already have. There is plentiful camera-ready talent out there, but Hollywood mostly ignores Asian Actors.

The white washing is so egregious lately that even an upcoming animated film from China called The Guardian Brothers has an all non-Asian voice cast for its US release! What the holy f***? That cast includes Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman, and quite frankly that pisses me off. They should know better. Neither of those perpetually working  Oscar winning goddesses need the exposure, the work, or the money that that job will offer.  

[More after the jump on this topic and Method Acting, too...]

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Monday
May022016

Which actors will Oscar celebrate this year?

We've discussed Best Actress and the overall April Foolish Predictions so let's talk Best Actor & Supporting Actor

First, we have to wonder what it will take to get Tom Hanks back in Oscar's shortlist. His last two acclaimed hits have wound up with Best Supporting Actor & Best Picture nominations but Hanks was passed over in both cases. If the same thing happens with Aaron Eckhart in the co-pilot seat of Sully, the famous story of the pilot who successfully crash landed a plane on the Hudson, we'll have a bonafide trend and not just a coincidence. That's what I'm currently predicting though of course it's all fun and games now before we see the films. And before we even know about several competitors as the year doesn't really get going until the fall according to Oscar voters.

The pressure is off Birth of a Nation... at least a little bit. Several films with actors of color look promising this year, so it needn't be the sole standard bearerIn other acting category predictions, I feel confident in saying that we'll see the end of the dread #OscarsSoWhite controversy. Or, rather, the issue will persist (Hollywood having white male imbalance problems) but it will take a different shape, less focused on the Oscar's acting branch which was an easy but unfortunate scapegoat of a much larger Hollywood problem. The Acting branch has always been the most inclusive and diverse of any Oscar branch but the uproar and embarrassing photo ops of the past two years -- as well as, yes, too-defensive quotes from some famous actors themselves -- have convinced the public otherwise. With more racially diverse dramas being released this year (Fences, Birth of a Nation, A United Kingdom, Loving, Lion and possibly more)  it should be an easy fix; AMPAS members can only vote for films and performances that are eligible. My sincere hope is that we see a few Latino or Asian nominees in the mix soon so we can move past this idea that racial identity and diversity are binaries. But first people will have to start actually casting Latin and Asian actors in movies. Wouldn't that be nice. It's especially rough for Asian actors since they nearly always change their characters to white characters between source material and production.

[Tangent for Hard Core Fans: Despite the difficulty of predicting a full slate of nominees this far in advance I don't actually do a poor job of it. Even in the below the line craft lineups I tend to score two of five before we've seen any films. This sounds easy but I assure you it's not. Try it one year in April and save your list with no changes ever each time you hear news or release date shifts thereafter and see how many remain at the end of the year. Best Actor remains my best category in terms of flying that blind. In 2013 and 2015 I correctly guessed 4 of the 5 nominees this early which is really something. And in 2001 and 2008 the scores would have also been that incredible but for the business of men being nominated the next year instead. - Nathaniel]

Saturday
Apr302016

April Foolish Predictions!

It's finally complete - the first predictions of the new film year, affectionally dubbed "April Foolish Predictions" by yours truly, just under the wire before May begins. I've opted to go for a year with a lot of new blood in various categories but the supporting categories have no sure things so it's like throwing darts blindly... possibly not even towards a wall... in those categories.

Enjoy fresh charts on ACTRESS, ACTOR, SUPPORTING ACTRESS, and SUPPORTING ACTOR as well as the General Prediction Chart for a summary.

Report back!  

Wednesday
Apr272016

New Actor Obsession: Dominic Rains

Confession: I normally remember actresses names with their faces straightaway even if they've only had a bit role that impressed me. Sometimes actors take a few roles to reel me in as if I'm face blind. And so it was at Tribeca where Dominic Rains took the Best Actor prize for his strong sympathetic work as Osman, an Afghani journalist transplanted to rural California in Ian Old's The Fixer (2016). All throughout the picture I was like "who is this guy?" like I'd never seen him before only to discover thereafter that I'd already seen him AND loved him in two other movies. In my defense the Iranian-American actor, born in Tehran and raised in Texas, looks different in each of his key roles. But still! I'd never let this talent slip by me with an actress no matter what they did with their hair and costumes.

Rains was the mohawked punk rocker in the little-seen but high-energy Taqwacores (2010) and the sleazy drug-addled pimp in the stunning Iranian vampire picture A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014).

More after the jump...

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Sunday
Apr242016

Viggo Mortensen: Still here, still fantastic

Our celebration of Actors this month continues with Lynn Lee on Viggo

Is Viggo Mortensen the most interesting man in the world?  Based on his peripatetic history and eclectic interests, he’s certainly a contender.  In addition to acting, he’s a prolific painter, photographer, composer, and poet who founded his own publishing house.  A dual American and Danish citizen who spent his early childhood in South America and Denmark before returning to his native New York, he speaks multiple languages, with greatest fluency in English, Spanish, and Danish.  Oh, and his ex-wife is punk singer Exene Cervenko, with whom he has a son. 

As my husband put it, “Viggo Mortensen is who James Franco wishes he was.”

I can’t speak to the artistic merits of Viggo’s off-screen pursuits, but I do see him as a kind of anti-Franco in keeping them largely off the public radar.  And while he’s clearly driven by a need to express himself via many outlets, he still exudes a sense of some private, fundamentally unknowable core self.  It permeates his screen presence, too, and is part of what makes him so intriguing as an actor.  (Well, that plus the rugged Scandinavian good looks and dimpled chin don't hurt, either.)  More...

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Thursday
Apr212016

The Irresistible Danger of Matthias Schoenaerts and Michael Shannon

 As we continue Actor Month here's Murtada on Matthias Schoenaerts & Michael Shannon.

One might ask what do Matthias Schoenaerts and Michael Shannon have in common. A hulking body (stocky Schoenaerts and tall angular Shannon). Intensity? Yes but also a certain menacing danger that sweeps through in every performance. It's a danger that comes out sexy with Schoenaerts and somewhat evil with Shannon. One never knows what they are going to do next, and that's why they are so mesmerizing to watch.

 

 

 

 

 

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